How I Hurt Myself

Before the bleeding finally stopped, I soaked through three Kleenexes and two Band-Aids. When I looked in the mirror to assess the damage, I was shocked at how big and jagged the cut across my nose was. It formed an “X” with a deep hole in the middle. How did such a grievous injury happen? I wasn’t traversing the hills of White County on a bicycle. I wasn’t galloping through the woods on a spirited horse. It didn’t happen when I took a tumble trying to return a table tennis serve or when I slipped on the greasy floor in the restroom of a fast food restaurant.

Nope. I busted my nose doing something I never should have attempted. Dusting.

I cranked open my Venetian blinds that bright spring morning at exactly the wrong time. The sunbeams shining through my floor-to-ceiling living room windows revealed cobwebs and dust galore. What could I do but grab a rag and a can of Pledge and get after it? Things went along without a hitch as I wiped down tables and bookcases. I swiped at picture frames and lamps and the step stool I use as a plant stand.

Then I noticed the thick layer of dust on the base of the swivel rockers. These chairs aren’t your run-of-the-mill living room furniture. They’re made of metal and designed to be used outdoors. When I saw them, rusted and forlorn, in the backyard of an antique store several years ago, I knew I had to have them. I sanded them down, painted them black and added red gingham cushions. Now they’re the perfect pair of cute and comfortable indoor chairs.

Perfect until it comes time to dust. Done right, dusting the chairs is labor intensive. There are way too many nooks and crannies where dust can settle. The base is the worst. To get to it, I have to get down on hands and knees and duck low under each chair. I support myself on my left forearm while dusting with my right hand. All while trying not to bonk myself in the head.

On this particular morning, I got in too big a hurry. Instead of lowering onto my belly and carefully backing out from under the first chair, I rotated ninety degrees and thrust my head under the second chair. The bridge of my nose caught the sharp edge of a metal crosspiece and blood began to flow. You already know the rest of the story. When the bleeding finally stopped, a bruise began to show. It got bigger and darker as the hours passed. By the next morning, it looked like I’d been in a fight with Rocky Balboa. And lost.

From now on, I’m sticking with fast bicycles and spirited horses and cut-throat table tennis and maybe even greasy restroom floors. The dangers of dusting are just too scary for me.

(June 3, 2018)